Stuck at the bottom of the customer-satisfaction barrel last year, Continental Airlines has done what no airline in the annual J.D. Power/Frequent Flyer Customer Satisfaction survey has ever done: The carrier jumped from last to first in a single year.
Continental's turnaround began right after last year's survey was released. The carrier cut costs and instituted incentives that resulted in Continental starting to show up at the top of the U.S. Department of Transportation monthly rankings of on-time performance, customer complaints, and baggage handling.
J.D. Power survey respondents ranked airlines flying domestically, considering 12 factors including on-time performance, seat comfort, flight attendants, and food.
Continental ranked first in long flights (500 miles or more), followed by Northwest, American, and a tie between United and TWA. For the short haul, Northwest took the top spot, followed by a tie between Continental, Delta, and TWA, and then a third place tie between America West and Southwest.
The International Air Transport Association surveyed 45,000 international passengers at airports in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific about the airports they enjoy most. Here's what they said:
Top U.S. Airports 1. Orlando
Top Non-U.S. Airports 1. Manchester, England
4. Sydney, Australia
5. Melbourne, Australia